The Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop, housed at the University of Central Arkansas, is proud to announce Caitlin Hamilton Summie’s short story collection, To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts, as the winner of the fourth annual Phillip H. McMath Post Publication book award.

The McMath Award was founded in 2016 to promote recently published books and to honor central Arkansas author and literary advocate Phillip H. McMath, who selected the overall winner from the seven finalists chosen by students in the Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop.

Of the winning entry, McMath says:

“Caitlin Hamilton Summie writes with that sublime sense of ‘place’ that is particular and universal, bounded and boundless, known and somewhat new, that great writers have. Whether it is big city, rural or small town, she reveals the same two things wrapped in a slightly different but always poignant package, mutability and the loss of love, and, as she touches one, she resonates the other. Offering just the right detail: “dog tags,” a “VW bus named Fred,” “fish eyes in moonlight,” she tells us everything and leaves the rest where it belongs, in the ever-powerful negative space of the imagination. Caitlin Summie has a very special gift, indeed. Marvelous!”


Other finalists for this year’s award were:

  • ActivAmerica Meagan Cass
  • Heating & Cooling Beth Ann Fennelly
  • Tremulous Hinge Adam Giannelli
  • Cities of Men William Jensen
  • Light Into Bodies Nancy Chen Long
  • Remember to Forget Me  Kerry Beth Neville


Caitlin Hamilton Summie earned an MFA with Distinction from Colorado State University. Her short stories have been published in Beloit Fiction Journal, Wisconsin Review, Puerto del Sol, Mud Season ReviewLong Story, Short, and elsewhere. TO LAY TO REST OUR GHOSTS, her first book, was released in August 2017 by Fomite Press. Summie spent many years in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Colorado before settling with her family in Knoxville, Tennessee. She co-owns the book marketing firm, Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, founded in 2003.

Summie will travel to Arkansas to receive her award on Tuesday, February 26, as part of the University of Central Arkansas’s Arkatext Literary Festival, which runs February 25 through March 1. As part of the award, she will also give a public reading at UCA Downtown on February 26 at 6 pm, at which refreshments will be served, as well as a craft talk for UCA students that morning.

Entries are now being accepted for the fifth annual Phillip McMath Post Publication book award.  This coming year we will offer two awards, one for prose and one for poetry. For more information, please see this page on our blog: https://arkansaswriters.wordpress.com/philip-k-mcmath-post-publication-book-award-genre-unlimited/

The Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop is a writing-intensive study program in Creative Writing that uniquely prepares graduates for careers as writers and in writing pedagogy and publishing.

The UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication includes the Department of Art, Department of Music, Department of Film, Theatre and Creative Writing, and the School of Communication. The College’s primary mission is the preparation of the next generation of artists, educators and communicators. For more information about CFAC, visit www.uca.edu/cfac or call ‪501-450-3293.


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